Not so much to add to the other reviews. Great stuff. And not the mapper's fault that I don't like and can't stand boss fights. Soothing, to read that others also are cheating :cool:
Maybe it's a li'l bit too much with labyrinths, but for me it was fun to explore.
I never played a map with so much rain as in tot2.
The parallel world in tot5 is fascinating.
Thank you so much for hours'n'hours of fun.
Skill
Easy
One of the best mods for Quake ever made, i praise it for it's creativity and the new monsters, kudos for adding a tech railgun... thank you aDaya :)
Skill
Nightmare
Outstanding! Deserves every ounce of its praise. Fantastic work!
No mortal can pass through all these a-Mazing levels...
Masterpiece! Simple as that

What impressed & hooked me the most is environmental storytelling, and very memorable themes of each map. Lighthouse in the first map with that shore overview. Swampy partially sunken old base sewers with a lot of vines & reeds. Then we enter the snowy mountains, and snowdrift are all around. Riding on a train in general added a lot to the feeling of progression through some gameworld. Adventure! 4th map was perhaps the most samey visually without anything memorable - just some metal base; nuclear plant or something. Well and final 5th map is something - parallel dimensions concept worked just perfectly in my opinion.

The mod/episode is not absolutely flawless. If I could give it 4.5 then I do right that. For example in my opinion there could be more memorable specific "objects" like the lighthouse in 1st one in all other maps. Landmarks - that's the proper word. Each map is screaming for some landmark. Without them maps felt a little bit too monotonous and way too stretched. On replay (yeah I already replayed the mod) it felt not so long, but on blind play maps did feel stretched, too long - especially 4th one

Either way - great job. I am impressed
Skill
Normal
It's good mod, but as Anonymouse mentioned, there might be needed more navigation signs on maps. And overall, less maze-alike map-design in mind.
Skill
Hard
Anyone writing it is a masterpiece must be trolling. Sorry to write this but this levels are absolutely horrible mess of mazes and ugliness. I can't remember any mediocre locations, all of them was samey bad. On level 4 I just removed this from disk and now trying to rehabilitate with monthly course of e1m1.
Skill
Normal
"Exhausting yet interesting enough to keep you moving."

I could write a very lengthy review, but i don't want to waste anyone's time. So I'm just going to stick to plus and minuses of this project.

Minus:
- Dungeon shooter, not enough landmarks
- Too much ammo for the powerful weapons like the rocket launcher. Making combat at times feel like a grind
- You can escape any arena fight. Thus you can just camp outside and funnel the enemies
- Enemies mostly appear at expected locations

Plus:
+ New weapons and enemies
+ Overall theme and story
+ Use of familiar Quake material
+ Exploration is fun and engaging
Skill
Hard
This was an interesting Experience to play through all those humongous maps. Where some contained different themed sections within, so large that for me it was hard to keep tracking the way to reach from one to another location, to deliver a key, for example.
Also this played a bit like an Open World Episode Game, with some "cinematic" moments. I really loved all such effects and Details.

The new Opponents and Weapons work well, IMHO. Playing it on hard, skill2 wasn't to difficult, whilst Monsters are placed well.
This took me 3 Evenings of having fun, exploring this rich and detailed maps. Some had a brutalist vibe to it, that I like personally.
10/10, great, thank you.
Skill
Hard
I don't get the time to play many new releases these days but this was one I absolutely wanted to make time for. As great as it is we have so many community packs/jams, there is something really special about passion-project episodes like this that are the singular vision of a sole creator; they form the cornerstone of custom Quake mapping and inspire me more than anything else, I literally dream of putting out something of this scale, consistency and quality.

That said, I am slightly conflicted. There are large parts of it that are truly phenomenal, awe-inspiring even, and it made for a really unique and memorable experience overall. But there are other parts, notably in the second half where my enjoyment levels got dragged down a bit and I finished it on a bit of a sour note. I've spent this morning ruminating on the good and bad and will try and cover as many thoughts as I can below.

General changes
I *loved* the new SSG, I possibly even prefer it over Dwell's rotary shotgun, the ability to control how many shots are fired is a great mechanic and makes it super fun to use. The minigun I wasn't quite as enthused over, although in terms of a SNG replacement that doesn't immediately invalidate the NG upon pickup, it fulfils its goal in a classier way than just spreading out the nails like in default copper. The railgun you can't really go wrong with, it did the job.

New monsters: I loved the Gladiator (well actually I hated him, he was a dick who kept killing me, but I mean that as a compliment). The nail infantry guys looked cool, although their hitscan attacks meant battling them got a bit cagey with lots of duck'n'cover play, there is little incentive to get out and run at them.

Most of the new sounds were neat, although hard exception on the weapon swap sound, which I'll be honest I replaced with an empty audio file at the first opportunity. That was one 28-year old omission that didn't need fixing.

Map 1
This was a solid first map that set the tone well. Some of the inside areas were a little on the bland side in terms of room shape and lack of visual variation, although some of that is down to the CR8 texture set, which definitely benefits from extra lighting detail (Dwell ep2 map 1 does this well).

The outdoor areas, however, were brilliant. Particularly the gold key tower section, which really stuck out as being memorable. I loved the steep climb and streetlights leading up to it, the imposing scale of the external tower view, and how the tension gradually ramped up as you ascend the stairs; great use of styled lighting. The lift down needed to be much faster though, it was quicker taking the stairs! The whole backdrop with the towering black mountains was mesmerising too, both here and in the earlier outdoor bit. Also loved the train exit. Combat difficulty felt just right on skill 1, just about enough to keep my on my toes without going too hard too soon.

Map 2
Probably my favourite, the rain was awesome! Really intrigued how you did it. I used Ironwail, there was some slowdown but it was still playable (reminded me of old times playing large custom maps on DOSquake). The sewer/swamp sections were all fantastically executed as well, really unique vibe. Only minor gripe was that some lower areas were a LITTLE too dark; I know it was by design, and it def needed plenty of shadowy areas, but a few more lights punctuating the shadows wouldn't have gone amiss.

Combat difficulty ramped up with many tricky ambushes, but always fair. Died once. The ending was really cool, finished the map on a buzz.

Map 3
This one kicked my ass a bit, I died about 5 times and occasionally got lost. That said, I still very much enjoyed it. The deaths were mostly fair, as was the layout and signposting; once I realised most routes linked back to the large open snowy area, and that area contained two colour-coded exits to each key as well as a signposted way back to the key door, I felt any loss of bearings was definitely on me. It's a well designed map.

The one 'unfair' death came when I went through a doorway with low health and got immediately greeted by three nailgunners and a vore; I knew I wouldn't be able to dodge attacks if I ran forward so immediately noped back out the way I came, only to find the door had slammed shut and I got shot in the back.

Visually the map was a treat, I loved the snow/fog combined with tall, imposing structures and the raw industrial feel. The ending was hugely satisfying too, perfectly executed horde battle that didn't overstay its welcome.

One minor complaint: too many doors. Quake's screechy metal door sound gets a bit grating when played too often, I'd have either picked a more subtle custom sound or just left some as open doorways.

Map 4 (A)
This was where I started to struggle a bit, I really want to like it because the scale and complexity of the layout is a huge achievement, each of the three floors could constitute a full-sized map in their own right. I liked the use of the large stairwell to link up the three floors, but the floors themselves seemed to lack distinctive grounding points you could easily find your way back to. By the time I'd gotten to the third room on level 1 I'd forgotten what the first one looked like, so lost all concept of there being a left and right wing for each respective keycard. I think a better approach would have been to have one gold and one silver keycard for each floor and use subtle colour-coding to distinguish each 'wing', like in the prior map. Then maybe taking the roof off in places to create epic centrepieces that link up the separate wings.

I had an issue with the circular slime pits in level 3 too, specifically that the entrance and exit pits looked so similar that given the twisty network of corridors linking them up, I didn't even realise they were two separate areas at first and thought I'd doubled back on myself. Then when I activated the biosuit chambers I found my way back to the entrance pit by mistake and wondered why no suit had appeared, I thought it was a bug. I'd definitely consider redesigning one of them to make it visually distinct.

I appreciated the little signs to the keycards, however I think placing strong visual landmarks so the player can find their own bearings and form a map in their head is preferable to actual signposts. The spawn ambush room was certainly distinctive, even if it was about the least suitable room for a spawn ambush...

Another thing that bugged me was the map felt just slightly too similar to RRP's 'Telefragged', with the vent-crawling intro, laser trap section and ending sequence. Teleragged's ending felt nicer too as the route to the exit was simpler but you had monsters to fight along the way, whereas here it was more a game of 'solve the maze quickly'. It only took me two attempts but didn't feel nearly as satisfying (ironically it was more satisfying to fail as I got to witness the great destruction sequence :D)

On a plus note, I liked the many Q2 references; tastefully done. And I know I've written a lot of negative stuff about this map but really it's not a long way away from greatness, a few minor redesigns would make a huge difference.

Map 5
This was preferable to map 4 in terms of general navigation, however it took me even longer and I did start to fatigue towards the end, which hindered my ability to grasp my bearings and I got very lost at one point trying to find the final key. I think it didn't help that 'light world' and 'dark world' weren't physically connected; I grasped there were two portals linking to separate halves of the dark world, but it took me way too long to work out where one half was in relation to the other. The light world did suffer from some repetitive/symmetrical design too, so even when I knew I had to swim underwater to find the second portal I ended up swimming for several minutes in the wrong direction first.

That paragraph out the way though... wow, this map looked AMAZING. Both worlds incredibly styled, unique and fresh looking, with some imaginative designs, a rich atmosphere, and a real sense of grandeur. The use of ambient sounds was fantastic too, so creepy and unsettling.

I could not beat the ending without cheating, I gave in after about 10 attempts. Granted this may have been fatigue, but I definitely feel it was missing a yellow armor given the number of monsters and open design of the arena, at least on skill 1.

Map 6
The steep hill intro and the start references were wonderful, really cool idea.

I can't pass too much judgement on the boss fight because I pretty worn down by this point and resorted to cheats again, however I did enjoy the arena. Having three separate sets of buttons was a cool idea to reduce repetitiveness. The eyes looked great as well, although I personally would have given them much less health, I think navigating the arena and finding them all whilst dodging lightning turrets is probably enough of a challenge in itself without having to hit each one with 3-4 rockets. At the very least I'd add damage feedback so it's more obvious you need to hit them.

Final thoughts
All in all, although there were ups and downs, it was well worth the time. And I'm still giving it five stars despite the negatives, because the scale, atmosphere, visuals and boldness of vision make up for them. I'd rather have something flawed and memorable than polished and unremarkable.

If I'm comparing it to classic episodes from years gone by I'd rank it similarly to Warpspasm, it definitely evoked some similar emotions. Possibly even slightly higher as the combat here was generally tighter.

Thank you for the release. I hope to play the commercial version some day!
Skill
Normal
Great atmosphere, definitely unique only to these maps. Good enemy placement and mobs, although at times I thought it was slightly unfair lol (usually vores and disciples encircling you). Cycle shotgun made things a bit too easy most of the time. Although I suppose it would've become boring to use the ssg exclusively. The rail gun was good fun, but way too overpowered (2 hits on a shambler for 12 cells)

The maps were hard for me to navigate. Restarting a save from an earlier session would definitely prove confusing, you need to ideally do these maps in one sitting. I understand its not particularly natural to miraculously sail through a map (get a key, loop back to start to open key door etc) but my god was it painful at times to find where I needed to go. However when I knew where to go, it was great fun. Sometimes traipsing back through the corridors to where I knew I needed to go was way too long too. I liked the flavour text from the antagonist throughout the maps, it helped flesh out the world and make it that little more immersive.

initially I was triggered you used so many q2 assets, like the CTF team logo, textures and enemy sounds. Though after a while I came to accept most of them as part of the world. One thing - one q2ish enemy idle sound just plays and plays and plays, especially during the entirity of the first level. For the first level I just took it as level ambience (lol) but it became clear was happening later on.

I couldn't play level 2 on this PC (usual one broken.,.) because the rain lagged my system out badly. I was using Ironwail, but couldn't immediatly find a way to turn the rain off. So I never played more than a minute of that one I'm afraid.

The secret level was an experience for sure. the MH thing was a good twist

for me the mod at times felt like Zelda. The temples, the blue/red theme, the switching between temples, the choir sounds and much of the aesthetic. I'm not a zelda stan so please don't take me for someone who links everything to fucking zelda

the boss initially looked cool, but i got bored/didn't want to invest time into beating it- that arch-vile style attack 'if you can see the enemy, you're dead' chafed, and I just used godmod to power through it (sorry)
Skill
Nightmare
I feel absolutely terrible giving this 3 stars, because its highs are very high, and its lows aren't bad, exactly. So much care and creativity has gone into the architecture and vibes here. The new guns and monsters feel good, the combat encounters are good, individually.

The problem is mostly sheer length. Other reviewers have remarked on how labyrinthine it gets, and that might have been surmountable for me, and I would have finished and given it a solid 4. Like a 5 star with an asterisk.

But map 4 broke me. I had what I believe was a soft lock, on version 1.011, where I was one key short somehow. (I can no longer confirm for sure it was a softlock because there don't seem to be old version downloads, and my save is screwy in the current version.)

Doing map 4 again in the latest version from a shotgun start was miserable, and even using cheats to get my arsenal back I started getting lost and running in circles again, and I don't think I want to try and finish now.

Every piece of these maps is great in a vacuum, but strung all together they're kind of exhausting, and having to start map 4 over to progress was so daunting I quit instead. I feel like all four levels I actually played would have been better at half or two-thirds the length.
Skill
Normal
Strong start to this, and also some great vibes popping up here and there throughout. Foggy/rainy ambience, mysterious towers, brooding custom music, melodramatic taunting from some invisible adversary... actually, reminiscent of the things I liked best in Zerstoerer. Love it.

The mid parts of the episode do become too sprawly and maze-y for my tastes, and I'm usually very on board with exploration gameplay. Making progress often requires "unwinding" your path wayyyyy back, which can be problematic given the similar-looking and even symmetrical areas along the route. (Sometimes tricky in having any idea at all where you need to go back to, and sometimes tricky in remembering how to get back there.)

But you know, with the help of a bit of noclipping I got through those parts. The rest was pretty great! I enjoyed the new monsters, the new weapons, and even the final boss fight as a twist on an old standard. One problem there: on hard difficulty the eyeballs each took 3 rockets to destroy, I think, but they had no reaction at all to the first 1 or 2 rockets. Given the amount of other stuff going on it took me a while to find out that they were in fact destructible and that was the solution to the fight.

And it's hard to overemphasize the vibes factor, so I'll repeat it. :) It's so satisfying to stumble across some weird characterful area. I do like me a well-constructed Quake combat arena, but it's never a bad time when I find a place that feels like it owes more to some sketch of "here's a rad place" than it does to the rules of constructing an edges-sanded-off fightzone.
Masterpiece. One of the best I've played for the last time.
we rise
Skill
Hard
This is hall of fame material. One of the best mods I've ever played. Every level is memorable, they remind of the best maps in Quake modding while bringing something unique to the table. I have some problems with the new models artstyle but it's a very minor thing. What matters is that I had a lot of fun.
Eldritch Zeus was a nice touch!
Skill
Normal
Same thoughts as the previous reviews, some absolute lookers in most levels, amazing atmosphere, but maps 3-5 in particular get quite repetitive. I can't stop gushing about the rain in map 2 and the trainstation of map 1, but really, maps 3-5 felt like I was playing Metroid 1 on the NES or 2 on the Game Boy, it's fun to get lost for a little bit, and then you have to draw some very small particular landmarks for yourself in order to progress, it can feel tedious at times.

Map 5 is the most cerebral in its key hunt and probably the one that takes longest too, however the lighting in one if its halves and texture use without too many setpieces that stand out in the other half (kinda reminded me of a cool looking version of Cistern from Tomb Raider 1 with some 2000s Prince of Persia sprinkled in... despite it being Greek) can make it very easy to get lost in.

Map 4 is strong with its story telling, but it's hard to gauge the verticality and shortcuts in between the levels, it kind of had a Metroid Fusion feel to it, it toes a fine line between "just go through levels 1 through 3 to get your 6 keys" but it felt like a bigger adventure which is neat, just one that at times felt tedious.

The worst offender has to be the snowy map 3 though and I think it's because the rooms were too small, it felt like I was looting a place in STALKER but filled in with FEAR offices. Despite the repetitive nature of the layouts of maps 3-5, the combat was actually really good, and I enjoyed the new enemies and new weapons and sounds.

I cannot express how much joy I had when I found
the second Kronos powerup popped up as a secret in map 6 after having seen it in map 4, only for the same joy to be brought down when finding out the boss had 3 phases and not just 2
. Having played on Nightmare the
Cthon-esque
nature of the boss, mixed in with some very strong AoE in its attacks made the last boss quite tedious too. It's hard to say how to balance it without changing it too much, but my suggestions would be (for Nightmare at least, I assume it's more manageable to some extent on the difficulties below): have the respawning resources spawn faster due to the rotting mechanic and have them in easier to get places with clip brushes on the stairs as not to wobble up and down on them and / or the whole screen attack not being as powerful. There is some cover that can sometimes be reliable, the rhythm is not always reliable. The "sparks" from the projectiles are cool in theory, their behaviour even gets teased by a lower tier enemy throughout the pack, but the ball here is very fast, so when you're getting out of cover chances of getting hit by a spark from the ball is high. In the last phase,
I was not expecting the fight to not get easier with shooting more eyeballs, especially since visibility is not high with the red fog while focusing on rythmic dodging. I was assuming the eyeballs were shooting at me, not just static locations
. It's a very interesting and ambitious fight but I think it needs the tiniest amount of fine tuning, especially since it's playing cheeky!

An amazing pack for patient maze and puzzle enjoyers that enjoy combat and seeing a level evolve in some scenarios with custom work.
Skill
Nightmare
A lot of good ideas and a few repetitive level design made for a great experience. I liked hacking ogres to steal their health on Nightmare.
Skill
Nightmare
Guys, this is an amazing job! I'm thrilled! I give you a standing ovation. The use of rain is admirable. :)))
Skill
Normal